The Philadelphia Flyers were able to rally to a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames last night in what was an impressive performance. The highlight of the night wasn’t necessarily a flashy one, but a moment that meant a great deal to forward Kevin Hayes, his teammates, and the whole hockey world.
Hayes tragically lost his brother Jimmy earlier this year, who passed away at 31-years-old. He had played over 300 games in the NHL and was beloved around the league.
In only his second game back, Hayes scored a goal to tie things up in the second period. Rasmus Ristolainen threaded the puck to the Flyers’ alternate captain, who found the back of the ent while attempting to find Joel Farabee. With the horn sounding, Hayes pointed to the sky in a moving tribute to his brother.
“There is no doubt that it had a big significance for him personally.” Alain Vigneault said after the game. “What him and his family and their close ones have had everyone to go through is obviously challenging. That whole group that whole family has been so positive and hopefully it is the start of many more to come
It wasn’t just the Head Coach who noted the significance of the moment.
“I am sure he is feeling a lot of emotions right now and we are all very happy for him. We have just been trying to support him through this time and we are very happy for him.”
“I think you could see it on my face. I think everything happens for a reason. I was the first guy to hug him. Got the puck for Kev, you know it’s a big goal, not one for our team but for Kev and like he said, we’ll all remember this for forever, a long long time. It was special.”
Like Provy said, he is a warrior and has been through a ton. He is an unreal teammate and unreal friend so it is great to see. It is a special moment for him and a special moment for us.
The love for Hayes extended far beyond the Flyers locker room.
“Personally, really happy for him. He’s gone through a lot these past few months.” Five-time All-star Johnny Gaudreau told reporters. “It’s hard because he’s on the other team so I didn’t want him to score, but I was happy for him, he deserved it.”
Hayes noted after the game that the puck will be going to Jimmy’s son Beau, saying that it’s a goal he will remember forever.
It’s been great seeing Kevin Hayes back on the ice after such a hard offseason that also involved core muscle surgery. But to see him score a goal and dedicate it to his late brother was a moment that undoubtedly got many fans teary eyed.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre